Indonesian Finance Minister “Rang the Bell” to Encourage Private Sector’s Role in Advancing Gender Equality and Women’s Economic Empowerment
Date: Wednesday, March 13, 2019
Author: Radhiska Anggiana
Jakarta, Indonesia — Indonesian Finance Minister, Sri Mulyani, was joined by representatives from the businesses sector and Indonesia Stock Exchange to ring the bell for Gender Equality with UN Women, to celebrate International Women’s Day. The bell ringing ceremony aims to raise awareness on the key role of the private sectors in accelerating progress for gender equality.
This year was first “Ring the Bell for Gender Equality” in Indonesia and the event gathered 250 representatives from the public and private sectors to support the promotion of gender equality and women’s economic empowerment in the Indonesian business sector. The event was organized by the Indonesia Business Coalition for Women Empowerment (IBCWE), Indonesia Global Compact Network (IGCN), and UN Women with the support from the Stock Exchange and the International Finance Corporation.
“Gender equality is an issue that fundamentally important for all of us,” said Finance Minister, Sri Mulyani in her speech. “When women have the opportunity to pursue their education and career, it is not only good for women and their families, but also good in shaping the next generation to be better and equal.”
Research has shown that gender equality and women’s empowerment are powerful drivers of economic growth. However, women around the world including in Indonesia, still face many challenges, such as negative social norms, violence and discrimination, and disproportionate burdens of unpaid work. These challenges often limit women from having equal work and income opportunities, as well as taking on leadership roles. The private sector has an important role in addressing these challenges and bring about change through developing gender responsive policies and incorporating this into their business practices.
Sabine Machl, the UN Women Representative at the event said, “Economies grow when more women participate in the workforce. It is important to promote positive and inclusive norms that ensure an enabling environment for women, so they are able to contribute fully to the economy, society and businesses.”
“If we strive for sustainable development, we have to invest in women and unlock their skills and power,” said Paul Polman, Vice Chair UN Global Compact. “Empowering women is the most important intervention to enhance social and economic development.”
The bell ringing ceremony was followed by a panel discussion; "Equality Means Business" focusing on equal opportunities in the workplace. Speakers on the panel included representatives from government, the business sector and UN Women.
“Investing in women, developing women’s empowerment and women’s entrepreneurship are important,” said Shinta Kamdani, President of IBCWE and Deputy Chairperson of Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Community (KADIN). “This is what the Businesses can encourage and get involved.”
The Ring the Bell for Gender Equality is part of the global initiatives formed by UN Women, UN Global Compact, Stock Exchange, and its partners to encourage further action to improve gender equality in the business sector. This year, 65 stock exchanges around the world hosted a bell ringing ceremony.
At the Ring the Bell for Gender Equality, the implementation of the Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs) was also promoted. The WEPs are seven steps aimed to help companies bolster gender equality and women’s position in the workplace, marketplace and community. In Indonesia, so far 17 companies have signed onto the WEPs.